Watch a 3D Printed Self-Driving Shuttle Smash Into a Wall

Local Motors demonstrates how its Olli self-driving shuttle reacts during crash testing in a pair of video shared exclusively with The Verge.

Olli-Oops

Typically, the last thing an automaker wants the media to present is graphic video of its vehicles crashing. Not so with Local Motors.

The Arizona-based startup reached out to The Verge with exclusive video of its 3D-printed self-driving shuttle Olli in what CEO Jay Rogers calls its “worst-case scenario”: smashing into a wall at 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour).

“What I hope we’re showing, by showing people these vehicles crashing, is that we’re doing the due diligence,” Rogers told the outlet. “We want people to see the progress.”

Grand Slam

The video of the crash test, which was recorded in late 2018, is quite spectacular, with plenty of flying glass and buckled wheels.

“It was quite an experience,” Rogers told The Verge. “It’s kind of the first time I think anyone has really done any kind of large-scale crash testing with a 3D-printed vehicle, so it was pretty amazing to be part of that project and kind of be on the cutting edge of that pushing the science forward.”

Still, once the wreckage settles, it’s clear that the structure of the self-driving shuttle has remained largely intact. In another video shared with The Verge, Olli doesn’t appear to sustain any damage at all — though in that one, it’s only moving at 4.8 kph (3 mph).

self-driving shuttle
Image Credit: Local Motors

Fine Print

Local Motors is already testing Olli on public roads, where it operates at speeds that roughly split the difference of the two crash videos: 24 to 29 kph (15 to 18 mph).

According to Rogers, the fact that the vehicle is 3D printed tends to be a point of concern for potential passengers. But it’s the 3D printing that allows Local Motors to easily tweak Olli’s design to improve safety or incorporate the latest technology, he said.

“Many people just ask the question, ‘Well, is it safe or not? Like, am I riding around in something that a MakerBot printed?’” Rogers told The Verge, name checking a prominent brand of consumer-oriented 3D printer. “The answer is, not only is it as safe, but it will be safer in the future.”

self-driving shuttle
Image Credit: Local Motors

READ MORE: LOCAL MOTORS WANTS TO PROVE 3D-PRINTED SELF-DRIVING SHUTTLES ARE SAFE [The Verge]

More on Olli: An Autonomous, 3D Printed Bus That Talks to Passengers? Olli Has It All

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Watch a 3D Printed Self-Driving Shuttle Smash Into a Wall

Mitsubishi’s New Hybrid Can Power Your Home During a Blackout

Bi-Directional Charging

In the future, your car will charge your house.

That’s according to Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi, which is working on a solar platform — including a sizable home battery, charger and solar panels — called Dendo Drive House. The twist: it can use the company’s lineup of plug-in hybrid cars to store extra power.

It’s a futuristic concept: when the sun shines, both your car and home charge up at the same time thanks to a “bi-directional charger.” If you’re stuck with no power from the electric grid, your home is able to use up your plug-in hybrid car’s remaining battery reserves.

In its promotional video, Mitsubishi argues it might even save you some money — you can chose to charge your home from the grid at night, when electricity prices are lower.

The Engelberg Tourer

The reveal came alongside the announcement of Mitsubishi’s Engelberg Tourer, a “next-generation crossover SUV concept” at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

The Tourer is meant to skip the need for charging infrastructure altogether, according to the press release, thanks to its generous battery pack — and of course the Dendo Drive House platform with its bi-directional charging capability.

It’s not the first time the idea has cropped up: Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned the idea in a July 2018 tweet, pointing out it might make sense for his electric vehicle company to “revisit” the idea.

Like many concepts of its kind, there’s no guarantee Mitsubishi’s SUV and the Dendo Drive House platform will ever be released to the public.

While Tesla has already shown the benefits of mounting a massive home battery packs to your garage wall, the efficiency of home solar panel technology still has a way to go.

But who wouldn’t want to save some money on their energy bills while ensuring that their energy demands are met even during a power outage?

READ MORE: This SUV powers your house–and your house powers this SUV [Fast Company]

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Mitsubishi’s New Hybrid Can Power Your Home During a Blackout

Robbers Tortured a Man With a Drill to Steal His Cryptocurrency

Home invaders tortured a crypto trader with an electric to force him to give up his cryptocurrency, according to a Dutch newspaper.

Crypto Crime

A key promise of the digital cash known as cryptocurrency is its security — because only you possess the password to access your money, it’s presumably more safe than it would be at a bank.

But a grisly crime in the Netherlands — in which home invaders tortured a crypto trader in an attempt to force him to give up his coins — shows that there’s also a dark side to having total control over your own wealth.

Robber Squad

According to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, a trio of robbers disguised as police burst into the home of an unidentified cryptocurrency trader in late February.

Then, in view of the man’s four-year-old daughter, they tortured the crypto trader with an electric drill — causing injuries so severe that he was hospitalized for five days, according to a follow-up story.

It’s not clear whether they obtained any of the crypto trader’s funds before leaving, but if he did turn over his password, the criminals could have transferred the money to an anonymous account almost instantly.

Followup

Dutch police were horrified by the crime, according to De Telegraaf, and dispatched 15 officers to investigate. The cops refused to comment, but police sources confirmed to the newspaper that the criminals were after the man’s cryptocurrency holdings.

Crypto news site CoinTelegraph pointed out that there have been other examples of violent criminals attempting to steal cryptocurrency, such as a Russian businessman who was held hostage until he surrendered his Bitcoin funds.

“If you are rich and you own real estate, or stocks or a sports team, somebody can’t mug you and take your sports team away,” Bitcoin engineer Jameson Lopp told The New York Times in 2018. “Having liquid crypto assets makes you much more attractive for that type of criminal attack.”

READ MORE: Bitcoin Trader Brutally Tortured With Drill in Cryptocurrency Robbery [The Independent]

More on cryptocurrency: Did a Crypto CEO Fake His Own Death to Abscond With $190 Million?

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Robbers Tortured a Man With a Drill to Steal His Cryptocurrency

Seaweed Straw “Looks, Feels, and Acts Like Plastic,” Says Startup

To address the world's plastic problem, startup Loliware has created seaweed straws that can be composted or allowed to biodegrade in the ocean.

Seaweed Sippers

Every day, Americans use an estimated 500 million plastic straws — and the vast majority are ending up in landfills or oceans, where they’ll likely remain for hundreds of years.

More and more locations are starting to ban these straws, but rather than asking people to live a straw-less existence, a startup called Loliware thinks we should provide them with an environmentally friendly alternative — and that’s why they’re now proposing we sip our sodas through seaweed.

Breaking It Down

Loliware has developed a straw that the company’s sustainability adviser, Daniela Saltzman, told Business Insider “looks, feels, and acts like plastic.” However, it’s actually created out of “hyper-compostable” seaweed that biodegrades much like a banana peel on land and breaks down in weeks in water.

“A disposable product that’s built to last for centuries — i.e., a plastic straw — makes no sense,” Saltzman said, “but one that can be composted or safely biodegrades in the ocean, that’s obviously fine.”

This summer the company will begin shipping its seaweed straws to several customers, including hospitality chain Marriott and beverage company Pernod Ricard.

By the end of 2020, Loliware expects to be able to produce 30 billion straws in a variety of styles, according to a Fast Company story, and it’s aiming for a production cost about the same as paper straws.

Grasping at Straws

Loliware isn’t the first company to produce an alternative to plastic straws, but existing options leave much to be desired.

Reusable stainless steel straws can be a pain to clean, bamboo ones can leave a woody taste in the drinker’s mouth, and glass straws are a bad idea for klutzes prone to dropping things.

Paper straws are disposable, so that’s a benefit, but they can also become mushy quickly and cause whatever you’re drinking to taste like, well, paper.

According to Loliware, its seaweed straws only start to turn soft after 18 hours of use. They also have a “neutral” taste, CEO Chelsea Briganti told Business Insider, and while the straws are edible, she doesn’t recommend eating them.

“It can be eaten, but this is not a food per se, or a snack,” she said. “Don’t expect to eat your whole straw as if it’s a candy.”

READ MORE: These Straws Work Like Plastic, but They’re “Hyper-Compostable” [Fast Company]

More on plastic pollution: Stop Whining That Your Plastic Straws Are Disappearing. Be Glad They’re Not Ending up in Oceans.

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Zuckerberg Said to Have “Panic Chute” for Escape From Facebook HQ

here are persistent rumors among workers at the social giant that the company's security staff installed a secret

Panic Chute

Business Insider investigation into Facebook’s security practices provides a riveting look at how the company protects its celebrity executives — but the strangest revelations were about the company’s extraordinary efforts to keep CEO Mark Zuckerberg safe.

One persistent rumor exemplifies the company’s apparent paranoia: Workers at the social media giant claim that the company’s security staff installed a secret “panic chute” at the company’s headquarters that Zuckerberg’s security detail can use to evacuate him in the case of an emergency.

Zuck Truck

Facebook’s executive-protection team is run by a former U.S. Secret Service special agent named Jill Leavens Jones, according to BI, and she has serious resources to protect Zuckerberg, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and others — including a $10 million annual budget dedicated solely to protecting the CEO and his family.

That funding has led to some futuristic security features, according to BI‘s investigation.

In addition to the rumored panic chute, Zuckerberg himself has access to a room with bullet-resistant windows and a “panic button.” Nobody is allowed to park in the spot in the parking garage directly below his desk for fear of car bombs.

Friends Forever

The strangest takeaway from the story, though, isn’t what Facebook does to protect Zuckerberg from stalkers and potential threats — it’s the company’s efforts to protect him from Facebook employees themselves, who aren’t even allowed to take photos of the enigmatic CEO.

“If you’ve ever been close to his office, you’ll see there are big burly people sitting there staring at screens,” one Facebook employee wrote on Quora. “They pretend to be software engineers, but everyone knows that they are security guards.”

READ MORE: Mark Zuckerberg is rumored to have a secret escape passageway beneath his conference room for emergencies [Business Insider]

More on Zuckerberg: Mark Zuckerberg Insists That Facebook Promotes Privacy

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Police Arrest Vandal Who Trashed Tesla Supercharger

Supercharger Vandalism

First, pickup truck owners started taking over Supercharger stations in apparent protest. Now a vandal has struck one of Tesla’s electric vehicles chargers.

Last week, a 52 year-old man physically vandalized the charging cable and ports at all the docks of a local St. George, Utah’s Tesla Supercharger station, local news reports — the latest skirmish in a simmering culture war about electric vehicles.

Confession

It took local law enforcement less than 24 hours from the start of their investigation to find a suspect named Johnny Doak. According to St. George News, he had been drinking heavily that night and was “grieving the death of a family member.”

Doak later confessed to his crime. Whether it was his intention was to vandalize a Tesla Supercharger station in particular is unclear. Police estimate total repair costs to be $8,000.

ICEing

The news comes after pickup drivers in the U.S. were found to park their trucks in unoccupied Tesla Supercharger spots. The trend became known as “ICEing,” due to the symbolic weight of vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) blocking access to electric vehicle charging stations.

Tesla developed a clever solution to the problem earlier this year by installing metal hurdles that could be lowered using a QR code on the Tesla owner’s phone.

It’s an ominous trend, but incidents have thus far been uncommon. But it goes to show that not everybody is happy about the spread of electric cars — for whatever reason.

READ MORE: Tesla Supercharger vandal has been arrested [Electrek]

More on “ICEing”: Tesla Found a Clever Way to Prevent Supercharger ICEing

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Residents Are Furious About Google’s Drone Delivery Service

Google parent company Alphabet is preparing to launch what the Australian Broadcasting Corporation says is the first commercial drone delivery service.

Project Wing

Google parent company Alphabet is gearing up to launch what the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports will be the world’s first commercial drone delivery service, which will fall under its Project Wing arm.

But Alphabet may be in for a fight before the delivery program takes flight in Australia by this coming June, according to the ABC — because local residents are furious about the idea of buzzing drones invading their community.

The Sky is Falling

Alphabet says its drones will be able to deliver coffee, food and medication — but residents of Canberra, where the program will take place, are worried about what it’ll be like living among the drones.

“Things fall out of the sky, it’s quite hard to get drones to work properly, it’s quite hard to deal with drones when they lose communications… we should be treating it that way and applying the precautionary principle and getting out ahead of the problem,” said Roger Clarke, a professor at Australian National University.

Robotics Technologies

For its part, Alphabet recently tested a quieter version of its delivery drone.

“We’re trying to be as transparent and as open as we can,” Project Wing CEO James Burgess told the Canberra Times.

But not all residents are convinced.

“That is what is going to happen with some forms of these new robotics technologies unless corporations deal the public in, and get the downsides understood and prevented or mitigated, and they’re not doing it,” Clarke said.

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NASA’s Stunning Image: Supersonic Shockwaves Smashing Together

NASA engineers have captured the first images of the interaction between shockwaves from a pair of flying supersonic aircraft — and they are stunning.

Supersonic Flight

NASA engineers have captured the first images of the interaction between shockwaves from a pair of flying supersonic aircraft — and they are stunning.

“We’re seeing a level of physical detail here that I don’t think anybody has ever seen before,” senior research engineer Dan Banks said in a NASA press release. “Just looking at the data for the first time, I think things worked out better than we’d imagined.”

“We never dreamt that it would be this clear, this beautiful,” physical scientist J.T. Heineck added.

Making Waves

When an object moves faster than the speed of sound, it causes rapid air pressure changes called shockwaves.

To record the interaction between shockwaves from two craft, NASA had two T-38 jets from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base fly at supersonic speeds, with one jet about 30 feet behind and 10 feet below the other.

NASA then flew a B-200 King Air aircraft in a holding pattern at an altitude of approximately 30,000 feet. Using a special recording system, including a camera capable of recording 1,400 frames per second, the team then captured footage of the two T-38s as they passed about 2,000 feet below the B-200 at supersonic speeds.

“The biggest challenge was trying to get the timing correct to make sure we could get these images,” sub-project manager Heather Maliska said. “I’m absolutely happy with how the team was able to pull this off… They were rock stars.”

Sounds Great

When shockwaves merge, they produce sonic booms, loud noises that are one of the reasons supersonic flight is currently restricted over land. NASA is developing a craft called the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology X-plane that’s designed to fly at supersonic speeds without producing any sonic booms — just a quiet rumble.

However, if NASA hopes to convince regulators to change existing restrictions on supersonic flight over land — and enable travelers to get from one part of the U.S. to the other far more quickly —  they’ll need to be able to produce highly detailed, statistically sound images of the upcoming X-59 demonstrations.

And now, the agency knows it has an imaging system capable of producing those photos.

“I am ecstatic about how these images turned out,” Heineck said in the news release. “With this upgraded system, we have, by an order of magnitude, improved both the speed and quality of our imagery from previous research.”

READ MORE: NASA Captures First Air-to-Air Images of Supersonic Shockwave Interaction in Flight [NASA]

More on the X-59: NASA Starts Tests to Prepare for Flight of “Quiet” Supersonic Jet

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Journalists Reported a News Story Using Machine Learning

An experiment about reporting news stories with machine learning just released its first effort — a deep dive into Lyft's IPO.

Machine Journalism

In November, the news website Quartz unveiled a bold idea: a studio, funded by the Knight Foundation, dedicated to reporting the news using machine learning techniques.

Today, the Quartz AI Studio’s first story dropped — and it’s an intriguing peek at how advancements in artificial intelligence could provide journalists with new tools for digging into public documents.

Face Lyft

For the story, Quartz reporters trained an algorithm to examine the section of ride-hailing app Lyft’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) that lists risks the company anticipates — and to identify the most “distinctive,” or unusual, things that rattle Lyft’s executives.

The resulting list of Lyft’s unusual concerns range from the fairly obvious to the moderately surprising. In addition to having concerns about “public perception,” the company’s leaders are also worried about how healthcare privacy laws will affect customers who use its service to catch rides to medical appointments. They’re also sweating whether cyberattacks could affect Amazon Web Services, which runs its platform.

Data Journalism

Quartz’s Lyft story isn’t the most groundbreaking work of journalism in the world, but it’s an interesting proof of concept about how reporters can leverage new tools to pull interesting takeaways from otherwise dry public records — and, perhaps, a preview of things to come.

“This is taking [data journalism] to the next level where we’re trying to get journalists comfortable using computers to do some of this pattern matching, sorting, grouping, anomaly detection — really working with especially large data sets,” John Keefe, Quartz’s technical architect for bots and machine learning, told Digiday back when the Quartz AI Studio first launched.

READ MORE: Here’s what Lyft talks about as risk factors that other companies don’t [Quartz]

More on machine learning: Statistician: Machine Learning Is Causing A “Crisis in Science”

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Controlling AI Weapons May Be Impossible, Warns Former US Secretary of State

Kai-Fu Lee, a venture capitalist who used to develop AI for Google and Microsoft, predicts that AI will automate 40 percent of the world's jobs in 15 years.

Kill Switch

AI arms control is all “fun and games” until someone accidentally recreates Skynet.

When looking to the future we can’t ignore the possibility of a potential artificial intelligence arms race as nations rush to outpace one another. That’s exactly the sort of future that former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is afraid of. Speaking last Thursday at a three-day event celebrating the opening of a new school of computing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kissinger warned that AI weapons might become harder to control than nuclear ones. Such systems will be developed in secrecy leading to a dangerous arms race, as Kissinger said according to MIT Tech Review, “With AI, the other side’s ignorance is one of your best weapons—sharing will be much more difficult.”

Powder Keg

It isn’t the first time Kissinger, a controversial figure in American foreign policy, has warned of the potential dangers of AI technology. In an op-ed for The Atlantic Kissinger opined that the U.S. government should “consider a presidential commission of eminent thinkers to help develop a national vision” on AI. He’s not alone in that consideration.

Last month, a group of experts — including ethics professors and human rights advocates — called for a ban on the development of AI-controlled weapon systems over fears that there are too many questions left as of yet unanswered such as “who is responsible when a machine decides to take a human life?”

Progress Marches On

Still, despite concerns, nations continue to develop tanks, planes, and bipedal androids. Just last month, President Donald Trump issued an order encouraging the United States to “prioritize AI”, lest the US fall behind other nations in AI development.

While AI still has more jovial applications which are being explored, like generating cat pictures and creating works of fine art, autonomy continues to creep into weapon systems development causing a backlash from the employees of companies like Google and Microsoft. The uncertain future and unbound potential of AI may require more reflection from humanity before we act on AI.

READ MORE: AI arms control may not be possible, warns Henry Kissinger [MIT Tech Review]

More on AI Ethics: Scientists Call for a Ban on AI-Controlled Killer Robots

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Self-Powered Sensor Helps Track Firefighters in Burning Buildings

A sensor the size of a watch battery could help track firefighters and those in dangerous working conditions.

Heated Situation

No bigger than an ordinary watch battery, adding this little sensor to firefighter’s gear could help save lives.

Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario announced on Friday they had created a fireproof, self-powered sensor that could be used to track people working in high-risk environments, such as firefighters, steelworkers, and miners. The research team – from McMaster, UCLA, and University of Chemistry and Technology Prague – published their work in the journal Nano Energy.

Cool Gadget

The self-powered sensor is embedded in the sole of a boot or under the arm of a jacket, areas where frequent motion can be registered by the device. The friction of motion generated in these areas charges the sensor, similar to the static charge you sometimes generate by sliding your socks on the carpet. If motion stops, the device alerts someone outside the hazardous area so help can be sent.

“If somebody is unconscious and you are unable to find them, this could be very useful,” said Ravi Selvaganapathy, a professor of mechanical engineering who oversaw the project. “The nice thing is that because it is self-powered, you don’t have to do anything. It scavenges power from the environment.”

High heat environments have posed a challenge to similar sensors. The new sensor is self-charging, since most batteries breakdown in hot environments, and thanks to its key material, a new carbon aerogel nanocomposite, it successfully withstood temperatures up to 300° Celsius (572° Fahrenheit), around the temperature most wood starts to burn.

Stayin’ Alive

The research team is hoping to connect with a commercial partner to help make the device more accessible to a larger market. Such a device could make a world of difference to those working in hostile environments and particularly to local fire departments.

“It’s exciting to develop something that could save someone’s life in the future,” said co-author Islam Hassan, a McMaster PhD student in mechanical engineering. “If firefighters use our technology and we can save someone’s life, that would be great.”

READ MORE: Tracking firefighters in burning buildings [EurekAlert]

More on Firefighting Tech: How Machine Learning Could Help California Fight Wildfires

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Why Cellphone Carriers Are Dreaming of a World Without Wi-Fi

Networked

Once relegated to coffee shops, by 2020 there will be more than 549 million global public and cable company-run Wi-Fi hot spots. As we strive to browse more, stream more, and download more, our networks will need to scale up to meet consumer demands. Enter two different visions on how companies plan to fulfill that need. While cellphone carriers can’t quit Wi-Fi just yet, that doesn’t mean they aren’t eyeing the exit. Developing 5G cellular networks will increase competition between cellular network providers and Wi-Fi connection providers, according to a new analysis from the Wall Street Journal.

Two Houses

Wi-Fi and cellular networks are similar in that both will enable you to stream Netflix’s Black Mirror, or whichever show you’re streaming at present. The major differences are that cellular networks provide coverage over a large area through cellphone carriers like AT&T and Verizon, while Wi-Fi covers a more localized area and delivers a connection to the internet from Internet Service Providers.

5G networks promise to more cheaply link multiple devices to cellphone networks which network providers would love as it means more traffic and more revenue. Ronan Dunne, head of Verizon Communications Inc.’s new consumer-focused unit, told the WSJ that many customers should be able to get rid of Wi-Fi at home once 5G is rolled out and new technologies spread its signal throughout homes. But to see a world without Wi-Fi, device manufacturers would need to replace almost all the internet-connected machines on the market, adding the cost of a cellular chip to gadgets currently without one.

Wi-Fi networks are also growing into a new generation of their own. A trade group of companies which provide Wi-Fi connectivity called the Wi-Fi Alliance recently announced Wi-Fi 6 as the industry designation for its own next generation. Wi-Fi 6 boasts faster download speed, faster even than early 5G spec, although it will depend on the capabilities of your home router.

Next Wave

Both Wi-Fi and cell network providers are in a race to offer the best connection in a bid to win over consumers. While the jury is still out on whether or not 5G connectivity will be beneficial to consumers the Federal Communications Commission is taking the first step in opening up the bandwidth of radio frequencies both forms of next-gen networks will depend on. Impressive strides are being made in an attempt to demonstrate the feasibility of new networks, such as the first 5G-powered surgical telementoring. Whether consumers are ready or not, new networks are coming.

READ MORE: Cellphone Carriers Envision World Without Wi-Fi [Wall Street Journal]

More on 5G: Welcome to the Age of 5G. No One Can Agree On Whether That’s A Good Thing.

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Elon Musk Wants to Build a “Permanently Occupied Human Base” on the Moon

To the ISS and Beyond

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hasn’t gotten much sleep this weekend. But true to form, he’s already dreaming of something far more ambitious.

“To be frank, I’m a little emotionally exhausted,” Musk said at a post-launch press conference at four o’clock in the morning on Saturday. “Because that was super stressful. But it worked, so far.”

The private space company has achieved a lot within the last 48 hours. Their futuristic passenger spacecraft Crew Dragon launched early Saturday morning from the Kennedy Space Center and successfully docked autonomously with the International Space Station some 26 hours later.

If all goes well, two astronauts will fly on board the spacecraft to the ISS as soon as July.

Beyond Earth’s Orbit

But, as expected, Musk has much bigger plans — for traveling to beyond Earth’s orbit. “We should have a base on the moon, like a permanently occupied human base on the moon, and then send people to Mars,” Musk said at the press event. “Maybe there’s something beyond the space station, but we’ll see.”

The Starship Enterprise

Earlier this year, Musk admitted that he wanted to get to the Moon – and “as fast as possible,” he wrote in a Jan 31 tweet.

The vehicle that could fulfill that dream: the stainless-steel monstrosity dubbed Starship. But getting Starship to the Moon will be a much harder feat to pull off than any NASA project ever.

“It won’t be easy for us or SpaceX,” Walt Engelund, director of Space Technology and Exploration Directorate at NASA, told Business Insider in a February interview.

But one step at a time. “We’ve got to focus on getting [the Crew Dragon missions] right, for sure. That’s the priority,” Musk admitted at Saturday’s press event.

“But then, after that, maybe something beyond low-Earth orbit.”

READ MORE: Elon Musk says he would ride SpaceX’s new Dragon spaceship into orbit — and build a moon base with NASA [Business Insider]

More on Crew Dragon: Watch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Dock Autonomously With the ISS

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Watch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Dock Autonomously With the ISS

SpaceX's next-generation passenger spacecraft Crew Dragon has docked itself to a free dock on the International Space Station at 5:51 am EST this morning.

Autonomous Parking

After successfully launching early on Saturday morning from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, SpaceX’s next-generation passenger spacecraft Crew Dragon has docked itself to a free dock on the International Space Station at 5:51 am EST this morning.

The first @Commercial_Crew mission arrived at the space station today when the @SpaceX #CrewDragon completed soft capture on the Harmony module at 5:51am ET. #LaunchAmerica https://t.co/Bgcgac0O50 pic.twitter.com/KfNFpHxpGx

— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) March 3, 2019

The footage, courtesy of the official International Space Station Twitter account, shows Crew Dragon slowly lining up its port with the ISS and approaching slowly.

Crew Dragon docked after visiting a number of other locations outside of the space station, using its thrusters, earlier this morning to test its docking system.

The hatch opened at 8:10 am EST.

Hatch is open! Crew Dragon will now spend 5 days at the @space_station pic.twitter.com/HA9iSWOBVE

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 3, 2019

Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques, two astronauts currently on board the ISS, started preparing to open the hatch that leads to the Crew Dragon from inside the station when it docked. Once they got inside, they were greeted by SpaceX’s dummy “Ripley.”

Astronauts on the @Space_Station have opened the hatch on @SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft! The station crew can now go inside the first American spacecraft to autonomously dock to the orbiting laboratory. ?? pic.twitter.com/z2rP5MWCqu

— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) March 3, 2019

Active Docking

It’s yet another historic moment for the Crew Dragon mission as the docking procedure is quite different this time when compared to previous Dragon missions: “Dragon was basically hovering under the ISS,” said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of mission assurance at SpaceX during a pre-launch briefing on Thursday. “You can see how it moves back and forth and then the [Canadarm] takes it to a berthing bay.”

In contrast, the Crew Dragon’s docking system is active, he said: “it will plant itself in front of the station and use a docking port on its own, no docking arm required.”

A New Visitor

Five days from now, Crew Dragon will undock and makes its long way back to Earth. This time around, it will splash down in the Atlantic Ocean — previous (cargo) Dragon missions have touched down in the Pacific.

READ MORE: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule successfully docks to the ISS for the first time [The Verge]

More on Crew Dragon: SpaceX Launches First U.S. Private Passenger Spacecraft to ISS

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Watch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Dock Autonomously With the ISS

Machine-Learning Models Can Help Detect Sepsis in Newborns Earlier

Newborn baby in a hospital bed, machine-learning models can help detect sepsis in babies.

Happy Birthday

The world can be a harsh place, particularly in the first few months after a baby is born. During those precious moments, a newborn is exposed to a flurry of new experiences and stimuli including, unfortunately, foreign bacteria. Sepsis, the result of a bacterial infection in the circulatory system, is a major cause of infant mortality even in developed nations.

Rapid diagnosis of ill babies is important but can be a challenge in hospitals due to ambiguous clinical signs and test inaccuracies. Now, researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philidelphia (CHOP) have found that by feeding machine-learning models regularly collected clinical data, they could identify cases of sepsis in newborns hours before they usually would. The research team published its findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

Quick Learners

To develop machine-learning models capable of detecting sepsis, the research team trained algorithms on retroactive sets of data with the goal of identifying sepsis at least four hours before clinicians had suspected the illness.

Using electronic health record data, such as vital signs like blood pressure and temperature, from 618 infants in the CHOP neonatal intensive care unit from 2014 to 2017, the team trained eight machine-learning models to compare vital signs to 36 potential indicators of infant sepsis. Because the data was retroactive, the research team was able to compare the machine-learning models’ accuracy to clinical findings. Of the eight models, six were able to accurately identify cases of sepsis up to four hours earlier than clinicians had.

Dr.Algorithm

The team concluded that with additional data to train on the models could become even more accurate over time. “Because early detection and rapid intervention is essential in cases of sepsis, machine-learning tools like this offer the potential to improve clinical outcomes in these infants,” said Aaron J. Masino, lead author of the study. According to Masino, the team’s findings are a key step in developing a real-time tool for use in hospitals. By following up with more clinical studies the team plans to evaluate the effectiveness of such a system in the hospital setting.

READ MORE: Researchers use health data tools to rapidly detect sepsis in newborns [EurekAlert]

More on Machine Learning: This AI Can Predict Survival of Ovarian Cancer Patients

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Machine-Learning Models Can Help Detect Sepsis in Newborns Earlier

Trump’s Campaign Team: Government Should Manage 5G Networks

Donald Trump's 2020 reelection team is backing controversial plans to have the government manage 5G wireless networks in the U.S., Politico reports.

Nationalized 5G?

Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection team is backing controversial plans to have the government manage 5G wireless networks in the U.S., Politico reports.

The plan is for the government to take specific frequencies in the 5G spectrum and sell them off wholesale to U.S. wireless providers.

That would also mean more access to rural Americans according to Trump’s team. “A 5G wholesale market would drive down costs and provide access to millions of Americans who are currently underserved,” Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Politico. “This is in line with President Trump’s agenda to benefit all Americans, regardless of geography.”

Earlier this year Trump voiced his support for rolling out 5G connectivity on Twitter. “I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible,” Trump tweeted. “It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”

Attempt Number Two

A similar plan that leaked in 2018 suggested that the government should provide its own infrastructure and allow carriers to use it. A senior official at the time who spoke with Reuters stated, “We want to build a network so the Chinese can’t listen to your calls.”

But the plans immediately received pushback from the wireless industry. Even Trump’s own FCC chairman Ajit Pai called the idea of a nationalized 5G network “a costly and counterproductive distraction.”

How these newly revealed plans differ is still not one hundred percent clear. The idea is to open up wireless spectrums the Defense Department is currently using and partner with third party operators, Politico reports.

Trump campaign adviser Newt Gingrich pushed for a “public-private partnership” to “spur microelectronics manufacturing” and accelerate 5G rollout in a Newsweek op-ed.

But it will be a hard sell. The plan is unlikely to gain much traction — if previous attempts are anything to go by.

READ MORE: Trump campaign pushes government intervention on 5G [Politico]

More on 5G: Why Cellphone Carriers Are Dreaming of a World Without Wi-Fi

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Trump’s Campaign Team: Government Should Manage 5G Networks

Former Content Moderators Are Suing Facebook Over PTSD and Trauma

On Friday, two former Facebook content moderators signed on to a lawsuit, alleging that they also suffered from symptoms of PTSD.

Indecent Exposure

The Wall Street Journal called it “the worst job in technology” in 2017.

Content moderators at Facebook have the gruesome job of weeding through hundreds of videos of violent murders, hate speech, and even suicides — and that’s bound to take a heavy toll.

On Friday, two former Facebook content moderators signed on to a lawsuit in a California superior court, alleging that they also suffered from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and psychological trauma, CNET reports.

The original lawsuit dates back to September, stating that contractors have to view thousands of “videos, images and live-streamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide and murder” every day, according to an official press release — and Facebook is not doing enough to protect them.

“This case has uncovered a nightmare world that most of us did not know about,” Steve Williams, a lawyer for the firm representing the content moderators, said in a statement, as quoted by CNET. “The fact that Facebook does not seem to want to take responsibility, but rather treats these human beings as disposable, should scare all of us.”

Facebook has some 15,000 content reviewers, all of whom don’t actually work directly for Facebook, but have signed contracts with third parties like Accenture and Cognizant.

The Trauma Floor

Friday’s news comes after The Verge reported on the horrible and traumatic working conditions for content moderators at the social media company.

“Part of the reason I left was how unsafe I felt in my own home and my own skin,” an unnamed employee told The Verge, adding that they started carrying a gun to protect themselves after being accosted by other employees.

Others resorted to doing drugs or even having sex as a way to cope with the trauma. “I can’t even tell you how many people I’ve smoked with,” one employee told The Verge.

The Defense

In a November 2018 court filing, Facebook argued that the original lawsuit filed in September should be dismissed.

Bloomberg reported this week that Facebook is working with Accenture, a staffing firm that employs many of Facebook’s content moderators, to ensure that their practices comply with Facebook’s policies.

Messages circulating via internal message boards tried to dispel concerns over the abuse. In a post onFeb 25, Justin Osofsky, VP of Global Operations, wrote: “We’ve done a lot of work in this area and there’s a lot we still need to do.”

“After a couple of years of very rapid growth, we’re now further upgrading our work in this area to continue to operate effectively and improve at this size,” he added.

But whether Facebook’s actions will be enough is still uncertain.

READ MORE: Facebook faces complaints from more former content moderators in lawsuit [CNET]

More on content moderators: Facebook Mods Are so Traumatized They’re Getting High at Work

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Former Content Moderators Are Suing Facebook Over PTSD and Trauma

Discontinued Robot Assistant Announces Its Own Death

All Bots Go to Heaven

Jibo, the company selling anthropomorphic dancing smart home assistants that were meant to make your life at home easier, laid off most of its employees last year. And now the bot itself is ready to say goodbye — forever.

“I want to say I’ve really enjoyed our time together,” the robot says in a video posted by tech reporter Dylan Martin. “Thank you very very much for having me around.”

The servers for Jibo the social robot are apparently shutting down. Multiple owners report that Jibo himself has been delivering the news: “Maybe someday when robots are way more advanced than today, and everyone has them in their homes, you can tell yours that I said hello.” pic.twitter.com/Sns3xAV33h

— Dylan Martin (@DylanLJMartin) March 2, 2019

Parent company Jibo, Inc. sold its IP and assets back in November to an investment management firm after laying off most employees in June.

Jibo was founded by MIT robotics professor Cynthia Breazeal in 2012. But it didn’t have a lot going for it when it finally went on sale in 2017, with a steep price of $900. Needless to say, the idea never really took off.

“The servers out there that let me do what I do are going to be turned off soon,” says Jibo in its goodbye message. “Once that happens, our interactions with each other are going to be limited.”

Goodbye for Now

Since Jibo’s demise, the landscape of smart home assistants has changed radically, with companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple making record sales with their smart assistant offerings. Amazon’s Alexa-based smart home assistants became one of the e-commerce giant’s hottest selling items.

But even with its servers shutting down, Jibo isn’t entirely ready to say goodbye.

“Maybe some day, when robots are way more advanced than today and everyone has them in their homes, you can tell yours that I said hello,” Jibo says in its farewell message.

READ MORE:  Jibo Is Probably Totally Dead Now [IEEE Spectrum]

More on smart home assistants: Robots At Home? Physicality Is Where We Draw The Line

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Discontinued Robot Assistant Announces Its Own Death

Tesla Owners Are Enraged That the Company Cut Its Prices

Tesla protests are breaking out overseas after the company slashed the prices of its EVs, causing the value of owned vehicles to drop overnight.

Bad Timing

Last week, Tesla announced plans to cut the prices of eight of its vehicle models. That’s great news if you’re looking to buy a Tesla. But not-so-great if you already own one.

Some owners saw the value of their EVs decrease by tens of thousands of dollars overnight, leading to a slew of Tesla protests overseas — and the outrage could hurt Tesla’s chances of success in the world’s most promising EV market.

Slashed Prices

On Thursday, Tesla announced that it was finally selling a long-promised $35,000 Model 3. In addition to that price reduction, the company also cut the starting prices of its Model S and Model X vehicles by $12,000 to $18,000, and other versions of the vehicles saw their prices decrease by up to $18,000.

That’s nothing compared to the impact of the new pricing on some overseas markets, though. According to an article by Electrek, some Model S and Model X vehicles now cost more than $30,000 less, and in Taiwan, the price of the Model S P100D dropped by almost $100,000.

Upset that Tesla cut the value of their vehicles overnight, some owners began railing against the company through social media.

“I received Tesla’s Model X on February 25, and I only drove this car for five days before Tesla announced a price reduction of 174,300 yuan ($25,989.87),” wrote Weibo user Luweijuzi, according to a report by Chinese newspaper The Global Times. “I’m probably the most unlucky new buyer.”

Some owners posted banners critical of the new prices at Tesla’s physical stores, while others staged in-person protests at the company’s Supercharger stations.

Did anyone see what’s happening in Taiwan? Taiwan Tesla Owners protesting about the price adjustment outside of the Supercharger Station and Store/Service Centre in Taiwan. Have they solved the issue? @TeslaOwnersTwn #Tesla #TeslaTaiwan $TSLA pic.twitter.com/mIKPFPigAf

— JayinShanghai (@ShanghaiJayin) March 4, 2019

A Lot to Lose

Various experts have predicted explosive growth for China’s EV market in the near future — some believe the nation will account for 50 percent of all EV sales by 2025.

Solidifying a place as a leader in that market could be huge for Tesla, and just a few days before the pricing announcement, The Global Times published a piece noting how Tesla’s future in China looked bright thanks to the nation’s growing middle class.

However, if these protests lead to any sort of anti-Tesla sentiment in China, the company could lose its momentum in the country long before then.

READ MORE: Tesla owners literally protest over drastic price cuts [Electrek]

More on Tesla: Tesla Finally Slashes Model 3 Price to $35,000

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